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Imperial Amazon

 (Amazona imperialis)
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© Lars Lepperhoff

Project Status: Completed | 2001

Collaborators

Donner Canadian Foundation, Paradise Park, RARE, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), Forestry and Wildlife Division of Dominica, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), Kyle Brown Legacy, Barbara Delano Foundation

Imperial Amazon populations on the brink

The Imperial Amazon (Amazona imperialis) has a wild population of only 250-350 individuals, with habitat loss, trade and hurricane damage having decimated the species.

Project progress: From 1999-2001 WPT supported conservation efforts for the Imperial Amazon to:

  • Purchase land to preserve habitat
  • Educate people of local communities
  • Research the ecology of the species
  • Monitor adults and young through the breeding year
  • Encourage captive breeding

Outcomes: Successful local education, land preservation and conservation have stabilized the population of this species.  In 2001 the Canadian arm of the WPT donated $289,000 received through the Donner Canadian Foundation to the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation for their work in Dominica. Funds were used for monitoring and field research, a new 4x4 vehicle to navigate the rough roads in the area, land purchases to create a buffer zone on the edge of the national park, and to finish building the Visitor Centre. In previous years, the WPT provided the successful education bus "The Jacquot Express" to teach about the benefits of conservation.

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IUCN/CITES Status: Endangered / Appendix I

Wild population: 250 - 350

Where found: Island of Dominica (Lesser Antilles)

History: The Imperial Amazon (Amazona imperialis) is native to Dominica, where it is found in the Morne Diablotin area (Raffaele et al. 1998), and North and Central Dominica.  A small population has also re-established in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Reillo 2001, Wiley et al. 2007, Reillo in litt. 2007). This species numbered only 80-100 individuals in 1993. By 2003 the population had increased to 150 birds due to conservation measures (Reillo in litt. 2003). The total population at present is estimated at 250-350 individuals (Wege and Anadón-Irizarry 2008, P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012).

Threats:

  • Habitat loss (mainly conversion to plantations, especially bananas (Snyder et al. 2000), and hurricane-related damage)
  • Hunting for food
  • Trapping for the cage-bird trade (Reillo in litt. 2012)
  • Competition for nest sites from Amazona arausiaca (Dominica Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment in litt. 2000)

Ecology: Imperial Amazons are found in the canopy of primary mountain rainforest up to 600-1300m (1968-4264 ft) but will descend in response to food shortages or foraging preferences.  Birds consume flowers, fruits, nut and young shoots of many trees.  They roost communally and feed morning and evening.

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